Pick n Pay launches online distribution centre in Gauteng

Pick n Pay has just launched its online distribution centre in Gauteng, the first of its kind in the province. This follows the opening of its Cape Town online distribution centre, which made it the first major brick and mortar grocery retailer in South Africa to serve its online consumer customer base with a dedicated fulfilment centre.

Our new distribution centre will enable us to significantly improve service to our Gauteng online shoppers,” said Richard van Rensburg, Deputy CEO of Pick n Pay. “At the same time, our online distribution capacity is significantly increased, enabling us to handle the rapid growth we are experiencing in online sales.”

Evolving the online shopping experience through a multichannel approach

This distribution centre represents a significant investment in Pick n Pay’s online business, which is one of the fastest-growing divisions in our business, and represents a conviction by the company about the long-term opportunities from online,” said Van Rensburg.

It is the next step in our journey to build an advanced, convenient and simple omnichannel shopping experience for our clients. Later this year, we will launch a new online shopping website and an upgraded version of the Pick n Pay mobile app.”

Michael Cotterell, head of Pick n Pay Online, added: “We were encouraged by the performance of our dedicated online facility that was opened in Cape Town 18 months ago. We experienced a significant acceleration in sales growth after the facility went live, and we are confident our Gauteng customers will benefit from a similar facility.”

Advantages for the Gauteng online shopping customer

In the past, orders placed by Gauteng customers via Pick n Pay Online were fulfilled by a store close to the customer’s location. “There are significant advantages to serving customers with a dedicated facility instead of picking online orders from a store near to their delivery location,” said Cotterell.

Firstly, availability improves as online customers are not competing with customers in store for products. Secondly, freshness improves as the supply chain is shortened and the integrity of the cold chain is enhanced. Products move directly from our distribution centre to the customer and do not go via a store, thereby improving shelf-life for customers. Thirdly, we are able to significantly increase the range of products we offer to our customers. Our facility has the capacity to hold almost three times the number of product lines as a regular store. Our aim is to offer our online shoppers the widest range possible from Pick n Pay.”

Today’s online consumers want convenience, affordability and choice”, said Van Rensburg. “That’s what our new Gauteng fulfilment centre is able to give them.”

Virtual Reality, Chatbots to Dominate Brand Interactions by 2020

1280px-larry_ellison_ceo_of_oracle_corporation-970x646Virtual Reality, Chatbots to Dominate Brand Interactions by 2020

Johannesburg, 6 December 2016


Chantel Troskie, Customer Experience Account Manager at Oracle South Africa tells Shopping & Retail SA that more than three quarters of brands will deliver Customer Experience through VR and chatbots in the next four years. 
The relationship brands have with their customers is set to undergo a technological revolution causing the number of human-to-human interactions to fall significantly, according to new research released by Oracle today.

The Oracle report Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality? polled 800 senior marketing and sales professionals across EMEA and revealed how the use of emerging technologies is set to surge by 2020.  Seventy-seven percent of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual reality in the next four years, while 79 percent expect to serve customers through chatbots.

chatbots-100687209-carousel-idgeHowever, despite this eagerness to embrace new technologies, many brands are still struggling to make use of the valuable customer and prospect data, with 56 percent not currently including social or CRM data in their customer analytics.

The changing customer dynamic
In South Africa, 77 percent of brands expect to be providing customer experiences through virtual reality and 79 percent will be serving customers through chatbots by 2020.

Most brands put this fundamental change in relationship down to the rise of social, digital and mobile platforms.

The research found that 43 percent of senior sales and marketing executives agree customers do more independent research before contacting them to make a sales enquiry, and 35 percent noted their customers preferred to make purchases or resolve a service issue without speaking directly with a member of the sales or customer service team.

VR and Chatbots set to surge
In response, brands are looking to implement innovative technologies that allow their customers to continue interacting with brands on their own terms.  In terms of upcoming technology investments, the research found:

77 percent of brands expect to be using VR for CX by 2020; 34 percent have already implemented the technology to some degree
79 percent of brands will be using chatbots for customer interactions by 2020; 30 percent have already implemented them
48 percent of brands have implemented automation technologies in sales, marketing and customer service, with another 38 percent planning to do so by 2020.

Data continues to pose a challenge
Despite the race to innovate, the reality is that many brands are still struggling to unify, organise and process the growing volumes of customer data they have coming into their business, making it difficult to truly understand and deliver a personalised experience for customers.

56 percent of brands don’t currently include social or CRM data in their customer analytics
48 percent agree smarter analysis of customer data will have the biggest impact on the experience they deliver to their customers
41 percent already collect a great deal of data from multiple sources, but are unable to extract customer insights from it

“For most organisations, the use of digital technologies has become the norm both inside and outside their walls. However, when it comes to VR there is a widespread perception that adoption will be slow due to high costs and because it will take some time before brands discover its relevant applications in their own business. Our research shows there is a strong appetite for VR, but it will be up to individual brands to tap into VR in a way that meets both their needs and those of their customers”, says Troskie.